Our last article explained the likely connection between poor diet choices and acne. However, merely knowing that junk food plays a role may not be enough. Changing one’s diet is one of the most difficult adjustments to make. It requires tremendous discipline during the early stages and the sacrifice of long-time comforts. Often, the best way to start eating a healthier diet is to transition into it. That is, substituting healthy foods that satisfy you in a similar way to the junk you hope to stop eating. This helps your body do its job in two ways: by giving it a break from filtering out junk, and by giving it the vital nutrients it is desperately lacking. Here are four unhealthy foods many clear skin seekers consume too much of, along with suggestions on healthy things to substitute.
Junk Food #1: Potato chips, pretzels, Doritos, or popcorn
Why You’re Hooked: The addiction to potato chips boils down to a few things. Many are satisfied by the crunchiness and texture of the chips themselves. Something about the way the chips feel in your mouth just makes you think of them when you are hungry or bored. Other people really do just like the taste; let’s be honest, there are a lot of great-tasting potato chips out there, and I have yet to meet the person who did not enjoy a handful of Smartfood. And all of these are fine in moderation. However, many people with acne are binge-eating these foods and their diet is suffering from it.
What To Substitute: One great substitute for these foods is baby carrots dipped in a sweet, tangy balsamic vinagrette. The carrots provide the crunch, and the balsamic vinagrette offers the tang. As an added benefit, carrots are positively loaded with essential nutrients like Vitamin A and beta-carrotine. You will also be happy to discover that you will not feel sick or bloated after eating them.
Junk Food #2: Oreo cookies, Chips Ahoy, any kind of chocolate bar or sugary snack
Why You’re Hooked: Cookies and sugary snacks satisfy our “sweet tooth” which is stronger in some people than others. Not everyone who binges on potato chips, for example, has to worry about binging on cookies, although many do binge on both. In either case, it can be very hard to kick the habit of eating too many sugary snacks. They are a form of “comfort food” that appeals to us more and more as we become stressed or anxious. Unfortunately, they offer no nutritional value and contain many unhealthy ingredients.
What To Substitute: Luckily for you, there is a natural substitute that will give you all the healthy sugar you need: grapes! Besides being cold and somewhat crunchy, grapes actually satisfy much the “sweet tooth” craving that you currently satisfy with cookies and candy bars. If you can get over the initial cravings for junk food and just try to eat grapes instead, you will find yourself quite satisfied and full after eating them -and your body will appreciate the fiber!
Junk Food #3: Frozen pizza (or most delivered pizza)
Why You’re Hooked: Pizza may be one of the most universally liked foods on Earth. Few can resist the mouth-watering cheeses, sauce, spices and toppings that a delicious slice of pizza has to offer. Nor should you, in all cases. Pizza is truly one of life’s joys, and you should enjoy it in moderation. The problem is that many people turn to cheap, mass-produced frozen pizza which contains preservatives and various ingredients your body despises. Ditto for most delivered pizza like Dominoes.
What To Substitute: The best substitute for frozen pizza is to prepare your own home-made pizza using fresh, delicious ingredients. You can actually buy your own dough, sauce, cheese, spices, and toppings that are not frozen and have not been sitting on shelves for months. Prepared this way, pizza can actually be quite healthy and much better-tasting! For convenience’s sake, you can even make multiple pizzas at a time, eating some and storing the rest so you can eat it later, just as conveniently as your frozen pizza of old.
Junk Food #4: Pop-Tarts, toaster strudles, doughnuts, or other sugary breakfast foods
Why You’re Hooked: When you wake up in the morning, your body literally feels as though it just went through a famine. It has not eaten in 8 hours. This is why sugary foods are so appealing and appear to give you a great energy boost after you eat them. Unfortunately, the energy boost is short-lived, followed by a crash, and just increases the amount of junk your body has to filter out. As we’ve discussed, this junk often manifests in the form of acne or other health problems.
What To Substitute: You do not have to completely sacrifice sweet-tasting breakfast foods. You just need to eat healthy ones. For example, visit the natural foods section of your local grocery store until you find fiber-packed Raisin Bran or Cranberry Crunch cereal. Believe it or not, these healthy cereals are actually delicious and will leave you feeling completely full as you walk out the door. Bananas and apples are another excellent morning food, delivering a surge of fiber and potassium that none of the aforementioned junk can provide.